So you want to be in the spotlight? Read our speaker application FAQs

To encourage more applicants to WordCamp London, we have brainstormed some of the most popular questions about applying to speak and we’ve done our best to answer them here for you.

If there is anything you feel we have missed, or something you think is worth adding – please leave us a comment below.

Q: Are all types of talks welcome?

YES! The stage is set for a wonderful variety of speakers. We are open to the full spectrum of session formats and encourage you to submit anything from standard slide presentations to panels, demonstrations, and more.

Whatever your idea, we’d love to hear it.

Q: How long do sessions have to be?

We encourage a variety of session formats, which include, but are not limited to;

  • Lightning talks: (maximum of 10 mins with a group Q&A)
  • Long form talks: (maximum of 40 mins inclusive of Q&A)
  • Workshop: (maximum of 40 mins)
  • Ideas for panels (maximum of 40 mins inclusive of Q&A)

Don’t hesitate to get creative and submit a session format you think might be interesting!

Q: Is there a speaker’s package?

All speakers will receive a complimentary ticket to the entire event, including the Social and free use of the crèche.

Q: Can you expand on the session categories in the application form?

We want to be flexible about creating our schedule so we’re really willing to look into a session you suggest that falls outside these categories. To encourage a diversity of submissions we’ve included the following in the speakers application:

  • long form talks – are the most popular types of talks at a WordCamp. At WordCamp London our long form talks are up to 40 mins long, inclusive of a Q&A at the end of the talk. Here’s an example from WordCamp London 2016.
  • lightning talks – are a maximum of 10 mins long and include a group Q&A (with other lightning talk speakers). Here’s an example from WordCamp London 2016.
  • panels: consist of up to four people all answering questions from the audience about a specific topic. At WordCamp London our panels are a maximum of 40 mins. Here’s an example from WordCamp London 2016.
  • workshops – are sessions ran by an instructor covering a specific topic within WordPress. They are a maximum of 40 mins.
  • other – considering something you don’t see listed here? We’d love to hear it! 🙂

Q: Will there be support for accepted speakers?

Yes! We love to support our speakers, and all invited speakers will be asked if they would like to participate in the speakers mentoring programme. The mentor’s role is to help and support the speakers leading up to the event. This can include support overcome nerves, reviewing presentations, as well as providing general support and encouragement.

Every speaker who chooses will be assigned a mentor in advance of the event, and will be encouraged to be in touch with their mentor for feedback, advice and support as they prepare for their presentations.

Although we encourage speakers to hangout with attendees and enjoy the event, we also understand that sometimes as a speaker, you need space. We have arranged a green room where you can relax and go through your presentation at any time during the course of the event.

Q: Who will be in charge of wrangling speakers?

We are thrilled to have our organisers, Diane Wallace and Barbara Saul, taking care of our speakers. Diane will be the speakers’ main contact to the entire WordCamp London organising team and any questions should be directed to the Speakers team by email.

Q: Does it matter if you haven’t spoken at a conference before?

Not in the slightest! If you have a topic that is interesting, then we would love to hear from you.

We are committed to helping you share your experience, idea or knowledge; we hope that everything we’ve put in place will serve to support our speakers in contributing to an incredible WordCamp.

Q: What should people talk about?

Anything you like! The WordPress ecosystem and community do such a variety of different things with WordPress – whether that’s designing, writing content, building businesses or adding features and functionality – we want to hear it all!

Tell us your stories of success and growth, but don’t be afraid to also tell us of your worst experiences and how you turned them around. We can all learn from each other!

All the talks we’ve picked in the past – and will be picking this year – are all about helping the WordPress community be the best they can be. As a diverse community, we share a range of interests, skills, knowledge and experiences – so not every talk will have WordPress at the core.

Similarly, if your talk has some connection to WordPress, or is directly about WordPress itself, we would love to hear from you!

Q: How much detail should be included in speaker applications?

As much or as little as you want. As a loose recommendation, we’d suggest you submit an abstract of a maximum of three paragraphs.

To get a better idea of what makes a submission successful, take a look at last year’s abstracts. You should give us a taster of what your talk is about, but you don’t need to give everything away.

Example 1: 

WordPress Coding Standards have been around for a while, yet many developers don’t write code with them, let alone know they exist. This was the case with me until September 2015 when I made the switch, and now I wish I’d dived in earlier! In this talk I’ll explain what they are, how they will help you write better, cleaner and more secure PHP code and why you should be using them for all WordPress projects. Then I’ll show you how to introduce these into your development workflow using two of the most popular IDEs around — Sublime Text 3 and Atom Editor on OSX— along with the necessary tools required to get up and running with the minimum of fuss.

Example 2: 

Not sure what user experience (UX) is? (Neither am I). Or whether it matters to you? (It TOTALLY does!) Or why it’s important? (Let’s find out!). I’m not a UX expert, but I don’t think you have to be: we should all be thinking about how people interact with the things that we make. Let’s take a really (really!) simple web app, tear it apart, and realise that UX is hard, very important, and definitely worth thinking about. Expect tips, links, resources, door handles, cars, small children, and possibly a little WordPress.

If you want to give us more information, then it’s best to use the “Why Do You Want To Speak” box. This will not be published publicly.

We will also be publishing an example submission from a presentation that took place at WordCamp London 2016, so you can see what made a submission successful last year.

Q: Can you submit more than one talk?

Yes! This will significantly increase your chances of being accepted and give us a wider variety of talks to select from.

But don’t worry – we will never ask you to do more than one talk.

Q: How do I submit my application?

Ready to submit? Head to the Speaker Submission form.

We can’t wait to see you on stage when those curtains open at WordCamp London 2017!

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